From a Shepherd's Fold . .
by Father Kenneth G. Davis
(from February 2001 Tidings)
Counting the Grumpies
In the summer of 1965 my wife, Marilyn, and I spent several weeks of intensive study at
Gallaudet College, in Washington, D. C., learning the sign language in order to share the
gospel with the deaf. Because of the limitation of hearing the spoken word, the deaf are
deprived of the opportunity you and I have of fully understanding Jesus as Lord and
Savior. I preached to deaf ears in a special congregation for several years. In those
years since then I have sometimes wondered if I were still preaching to "deaf
ears." I share a personal story of our youngest daughter, who was about five years
old at the time.
One Sunday morning, after coming from Holy Communion, Marybeth was sitting in the front
pew with her mother holding up one finger after another, with both hands. With great
curiosity, Marilyn leaned over and asked Marybeth what she was doing. Her response was.
"I'm counting the 'grumpies' and the 'smilies'." To this Marilyn asked,
"Who is winning?" She answered, "the grumpies." Then she went on and
said, " I thought that when we have Jesus in our hearts we are happy." After
sharing this story many times, I am happy to relate that the congregation learned what it
meant to have Jesus in their heart and they changed from a congregation of 'grumpies' to
one of 'smilies.'
Indeed, this is a question each of us must ask. God has given us the gift of life;
Jesus has given us the gift of love; the church has given us the gift of a Christian
family. What better gifts could Epiphany give us than these? Add to this: God has given us
life abundantly; Jesus has given us love unconditionally; the church, through scripture,
assures us of sins forgiven, that we can become a new person, once again reunited with
As we live out this new Christian Year of 2001, let us remember one thing "you and
God are a majority." We are truly loved. May we claim the promises that God has for
us, and receive these gifts from a loving Father, and offer our love to Him and to His
Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in answering love. My prayer is that we will hear
with our heart as well as with our ears.
(Shepherd Ken Davis)